What could Diane know about it? She thinks that she knows everything, but if a doctor said it – that must be right, because that doctor has a degree in it. And, if a lawyer said it, that must be right, because that lawyer has a degree in it and would know. If it came from a lawyer’s office, that must be the right form because the lawyer’s office sent it, even if they did have a worker google it and print it off the info found from whatever terms they happened to use in the search. What could Diane know about those things? She doesn’t have a degree in it and even though she spent five weeks specifically looking up that information, reading it and asking questions of people in those specialties to understand the information, then researched and learned some more – what could she possibly know or understand about it?
How does Diane know about things? She doesn’t have a job, or an income, or own a house or ever have any money, can’t keep a marriage, was never there for anybody or able to even keep a job – how would she know anything about anything that is correct, true or accurate about anything? Let’s just cut out the middleman who finds the need to repeat all this stuff ad infinitum, ad nauseum – from family members and friends to those in the community, in banks, in businesses, schools and industries working as “experts” or with enough money for people to think they are using “expertness.”
Diane, that’s me – does know a lot of things but the most important thing that I know is, “that I don’t know”, and because of that – and not taking for granted what I do know about things – I approach things with learning about them in mind as if I don’t know everything there is to know about it nor understand it fully even when I may have learned, know, be knowledgeable about, understand more and have learned more about whatever “it” is than most people including some experts on the subject. That allows me to learn, to explore, to grow better, to understand it better, to take in new information about it, to bring in more current information about things that have been in recent advances, to add to what I can do and what I can learn and understand.
“Experts” don’t have to do that. Lawyers can have anyone get forms, or format them using law internet sites, or google and commonly do that even without using the very specifics of the things they are looking up and without the history of the specifics concerning what they are looking up. For my family, friends, community – I work hard to get the other part of the information from history and specifics concerning whatever it is before adding to the search using internet, books, law, libraries, questioning experts by phone or email, and any other sources I can find to help me understand it.
So, why would I be upset about this? What difference does it make if people especially in my family know that I am knowledgeable about some things and work hard to be knowledgeable about them or not? Why would it matter, if people in various communities around me from academia to business to local people know that I’m knowledgeable and smart about some things or that I work hard to know the things I know in an educated way? What difference does it make?
Why can’t I just accept that and go on? Wouldn’t it be okay to accept that people including those in my own family will always be that way about me? Wouldn’t it be alright to say, “okay, they are wrong about that and aren’t going to give credence to what I’m telling them even after I’ve studied it and worked to learn about it. Oh well.” Can’t I just say that and accept that allowing them to do some of the most expensive costly stupid things that destroy lives, destroy opportunities for us, destroy our futures and decimate our current assets and resources just doesn’t matter? Can’t that be okay?
I’ve let that happen before despite my best efforts to tell them a factual educated set of choices and why – after going to the trouble to look it up in depth, learn about it, work to understand it and then convey it to them in ways they could understand along with where I got the information and explaining what it means. They ignored using that information, discredited it because I said it and because it specifically came from me rather than from somewhere else and it has cost our family over and over and over again, but that didn’t change by me offering information, sources, analysis and explanation, process, the why, the where it came from and how to use the information. It didn’t change one bit of it.
My family has used me as a walking dictionary and encyclopedia for nearly every week of my life both before my brain injury AND after it. When they would want to know how much potassium is in a baked potato – they would call me. When they wanted to know how to find the laws about something or just get them looked up for them and explained or sent to them, they would ask me. When they wanted to know some historic bit of something or another, even though I didn’t know necessarily one thing about it, they called me to look it up and explain it and show how it fit with broader strokes of history and politics and strategies of war and business and decision-making by world leaders or local politicians.
But, then that doesn’t count when I give them the information and it is accurate, timely, immediately available to them, correct, specific and comprehensive and explained in terms they can understand along with where I found it. It doesn’t count. And if any of the people including my family members were asked today, if I would be a reliable source of such information and analysis – they would quickly reply no, with various reasons why that information can’t be trusted. Then they would defer to an expert opinion even if it can be proven to be wrong, ill-advised, half-ass, dimwitted, lacking in common sense, incorrect, not specific to the task or information to which it must be applied or just plain lies and falsehoods for whatever reason they were the case, (honestly, sometimes political leanings, sometimes economic or financial agendas have caused various “experts” to convey lies rather than accurate information, and everyone knows that.)
So, case in point. My mother died last September. My family refused to allow me to attend her funeral because they said – they got this and it was none of my business about everything, including my family’s household requirements to protect our assets, and to file the appropriate legal instruments, etc. I was so angry at their attitudes when I am the oldest daughter and belong to that house as well as having spent constantly and consistently over 34 years coming to their house to help them at any moment’s notice, and answering a multitude of other needs over the phone setting aside my own work and needs to do that over and over again, but they treated me like a nosy neighbor from church or something getting into stuff that was none of my business and not my place. It was enough to pay over $80 to get a taxi to get away from Mom and Dad’s house at my own expense to leave having been told I couldn’t stay there because I was upsetting my sister when I used cuss words as part of everyday language and my oldest daughter who said I was looking in drawers that I didn’t have a right to look in, even though I was looking for a highlighter and a pen to use just as I had to do every time I went to their house. My sons said none of it was my business and that I was simply being distracting to add the things I knew had to be done to the list of what had to be done. And, none of them wanted me to be there saying I did not have any right to be there and that what my Daddy might need to do to satisfy the legal measures was none of my business because I wasn’t getting anything from Mom’s will anyway and how he handled it wasn’t up to me. Well, by May of this year – my Daddy talked with me on the phone in an absolute nightmarish panic. He knew the court required him for probate to answer for the actions he had taken as executor within a few weeks as the six month mark approached and was losing his mind about it. And, I found out why, too.
Now, where was my sister and oldest daughter who were supposed to be helping with this? Why didn’t they help since they were so sure it was none of my business? Where were my oldest sons who decided that it was their business and my sister’s and none of mine? Nowhere. They couldn’t be told about it and hear what was being said to them by Daddy. They didn’t want to be bothered about figuring it out or how to do it. They didn’t have any reason to believe it was their problem to deal with, nor did they want to spend the time doing it. So, I – who have no money and is living on less than every single other person I know, including everyone in my family, spent the only money I had, dropped everything I was doing to build my own business, to work on my own life skills and learning the new area where I live which I was supposed to be doing – dropped it all to take a bus down to Atlanta which was all I could afford and fix it for our family.
What could possibly have needed fixing with all those self-righteous, better than me people taking care of it all as well as a lawyer that was paid over $2,000 to take care of it? What could I have offered that none of them took care of doing, including my oldest daughter who was right there in the house with Daddy and my sister and oldest sons who were charged by Mom and Dad in their wills to take care of it? Hmmm. It was unbelievable. None of the property deeds or tax records for any of their properties had been found within the clutter-holic hoarding sanctuary of their house mess. None of the laws concerning probating property they owned in two different states had been sought out and read or followed or even checked for what was required. None of the house’s general paperwork had been located, put into one accessible place where Daddy could get to it when he needed it nor checked for what it was until everything needed had been found. I did that with Daddy when I went there in May and spent five weeks with him to do it and to look up the probate laws and tax laws of the two different states. I took Daddy to get the property deeds from the records room at the courthouse that he didn’t know how to do. He took me with him to the attorney he had paid and then he paid him more to get him to make out the request that the property in GA be put into his name officially which the probate required and then after reading the probate, property and tax laws of TWO different states – GA and SC where they own property, Daddy knew, because of my efforts – that SC had to probate the will there and he was able to get an attorney there to have the original property deeds made out for the property which had never been done and should’ve been and then to have the property placed in his name along with interacting properly in the SC probate court about the change as it had to be done in a certain order and place within the process.
Their property in SC had been treated a certain way as a conservation / soil erosion prevention / forest steward participant and since neither Daddy nor anyone else knew what the regulations and requirements upon Mom’s passing meant for it – I looked it up, studied the programs, agencies, laws, tax code, and agriculture agency information online to find those things. It took me the better part of five weeks working at it about 18 hours each day except when Daddy and I went out to eat for lunch or dinner which seemed to be the most important thing to him, not being able to stand the smell of food cooking. And, I found the information, found all the paperwork for the household, helped Daddy get it in order and put where he could get to it anytime he wanted without tripping over it trying to get in bed at night like he had been doing with four file boxes of just the most recent bills and paperwork, found that the two states looked at property ownership differently based on their laws and that it had to be probated in both which should’ve been done simultanesously, but had Daddy as the lawyer to write an apology and explanation to the SC court as to why it didn’t happen that way – as the SC laws said could be done according to my reading of them. And, I helped Daddy get the lawyer in GA to ask the probate court that the reporting and inventory requirement be waived under the circumstances as GA law allows as well and after making one of the phone calls to the clerk at the probate court – I was the only one who discovered that the computers’ files in the probate office were requiring something different than the probate judge had determined – which was corrected because I found it was the case.
So, after printing out the correct tax forms for the SC property and finding the laws which I also printed out that governed the programs for which it had been and continued to be eligible being used to define the property’s tax status – I thought the massive number of details had been solved. None of those responsible for doing it took care of any of it or even knew to do it and I don’t know why. And, none of those things I did are going to matter because now, the lawyer’s office sent my Daddy a different form to fill out for the taxes claiming the property to be a working commercial tree farm and then the tax assessor’s office when he sent them a letter simply asking for the same recognition under the tax code that the property has had, to be continued with no change since he had been the owner before as well – that office sent him the same wrong form as a commercial tree farm for each of the lots in the property as the attorney’s office had done. I’m pretty sure, the only way the attorney’s office would’ve sent him that form is by google or lexis/nexis entry with the words tree farm anyway with no real understanding of what he was telling them anyway. But, no – it must be right, even if it wrong because that is the form which came from the lawyer’s office and from the tax office. It doesn’t matter that I got my information and the form from the State Department of Agriculture, the Farm Services Agency, the South Carolina tax code that is current concerning the laws governing the program – doesn’t matter. When I had printed it out at Daddy’s house, he had listened about what it was and why it was the program the property has been under all this time, set the pages down after sort of looking at them, then set a cup of coffee on them on top of the file cabinet in the den. Later, twice I brought out that same two pages with its printed form on the back of one of the pages and said to make sure and put this in the front folder of the property tax info and thought he did. Now, it can’t be found anywhere. He had gone to my sister’s house for her to help him with it. She will say, Diane can’t know anything about this and doesn’t know what she is talking about and here’s why with its long list of reasons why the lawyer’s office and tax assessors office must know more about it than I do.
But, when Daddy fills out those forms as a commercial tree farm when there has not been at least a thousand dollars worth of timber harvested from it and turns that in – not only will it negate the property from the programs that it has been under, it will also not be a tree farm either. Then he will be faced with some ridiculous and wrong tax bill on the property and either dump the property which by the way, I’m getting none of anyway – it goes to my sister and one of my sons if they want it – but Daddy if faced by some huge tax bill will sell that property like it is nothing but in the way and it won’t be an asset to our family at all – and he will sell it at “get rid of it” prices just to be shed of the headache of trying to figure it out between two different states and being tired of worrying with it. I’m sure that at some point, the re-assessment of the property by the tax office could be appealed and maybe even corrected to what it has been the entire time since shortly after they bought the lots, but by then – the property could be lost because Daddy doesn’t want to be bothered and my other family members don’t seem to know what to do.
I don’t know how to fix it because no matter what I do or what I’m capable of doing and prove I can do – they aren’t going to give respect or credibility to it even though it is right and accurate and correct simply because it came from me and as a result of my efforts. It doesn’t matter what the facts are – or the fact that as the anecdote above describes, if it hadn’t been for me, my family’s assets and the security of those assets would be in jeopardy even now because none of those things above wouldn’t have been done. They had six months to help Daddy do them and came to that house several times during that and spent a while with Daddy after Mom passed and none of them ever once helped him find the paperwork that showed the property had been paid for, the mortgage on the house in GA satisfied, the tax bills for all of it, the requirements of each state concerning the properties after one of them passed – nor would any of the properties have their certified deed in Daddy’s hands to this day if it had been for only their efforts – because none of them made those efforts. They didn’t even try to look up the information to know about the properties, taxes, probate of them or requirements either. But, supposedly – it is, in their estimation – none of my business. What happens to my Daddy damn sure is my business. I’m the oldest daughter and have not been taken out of our family no matter what they think. It is definitely my business what happens to our families assets and properties and more than that – it is certainly my business what happens to my Daddy in the middle of this madness of trying to figure it out and worrying himself so much he can’t even sleep at night. Who the hell do they think they are?
For the last 34 years, my Mom and Dad have called me whenever they needed to find something in their house because I would know where it is. When there was plumbing to do, cleaning that was massive, organizing or finding something important they couldn’t find anywhere even with my description of where it was, they would come to my apt, I would drop everything and come to their house to help Daddy do plumbing or fix the floor or to clean and organize for them with their massive clutter-holic nightmare they didn’t trust anybody else to come into. And, even after I moved to New York a couple years ago, they would still call me to know where something was in their house where I wasn’t living and I would know. And, in May of this year when I was there – it was me who got up on the roof with Daddy and cleaned out the gutters because nobody else in the family had bothered to do it or to get it done by someone paid to do it either and it was rotting the eaves of the house it was so bad. They hadn’t mowed the yard or found someone to come and do it until I said – hey, this has got to be done somehow and either get somebody out to do it or I’m going to go do it and went out to check the lawnmower for gas. Then, my oldest daughter and Daddy decided that they could call someone to come get the grass mowed in the front yard that was up to my waist in places. I’d say they had plenty of time to have noticed it was a problem and dealt with it. But, I’m supposed to have been up to no good, looking in a desk drawer for a highlighter and a pen after Mom had passed and we needed to know which items on a list needed to be done first, second and third in priority. Not only did I find out that Daddy had let my daughter throw away and give away my belongings that Mom had insisted stay at their house because they were too important to put in the paid storage unit I had gotten, but some of those were absolutely irreplaceable things I needed to make up for the brain injury being tools that helped me to know who I am and things that I know how to do including how to do exercises that help me to walk, to talk well, to read and to find the information that I know how to do. Those mnemonic tools were developed over years and my daughter knowing what they were threw them out and gave some of them to the charity thrift store to get them out of her way without any regard for what it would mean to me or the agreement Mom and Daddy had made with me about not letting anything happen to them. And, throughout the five weeks I was at Daddy’s house, my oldest daughter being drunk most of the time and hating me through all of it danced around crying literally to Daddy in the kitchen at every opportunity that it was just upsetting her too much to have me be there at all and that I didn’t have nay right to be there sleeping on the couch in the den and needed to go home. Then Daddy would come and rush me demanding to know when I would be done finding out all this stuff for him because it was taking too long and upsetting my daughter too much for it to go on much longer – despite the fact that she was so drunk and stoned the entire time I was there that I was surprised she wasn’t an emergency room case instead of a nuisance. And, no – she didn’t want to see or to learn how I was looking up those things in the law and tax code and agency program information to be able to do it instead of me doing it. Nope, that would’ve been too much trouble and the same is true for my sister, my oldest sons – they had plenty of time and reason to render an opinion that I shouldn’t be there or taking so long to get these things done and be upsetting my oldest daughter who wasn’t speaking to me but the knowledge that I was there infuriated her constantly – but they didn’t have time or willingness to see or learn how I was doing these things, what needed to be done nor to accomplish any of it. Bizarre to say the least. And, today – after going to GA and coming back at my own expense putting my bills and business and efforts to learn the place where I live into an absolute mess that I’m still fighting to recover from, Daddy has taken the stuff to my sister’s house with him so she can show him how to do it when she doesn’t know one thing about it.